Written by Melanie Gervasi on 06.02.14

Found at the Centre d’histoire de Montréal  (Montreal History Centre) in the Old Montreal district, this exhibition offers viewers a glimpse into one of the most scandalous periods of the city’s cultural history— the 1940’s to the 1960s. Marked by gangs, prostitution, illegal drug and alcohol trafficking, this jazzy period was notably known to be one of rebellion and, surprisingly enough, economic growth. Montreal’s most scandalous affairs took place at a time that the city was at a peak in entertainment. Laden with nightclubs, strip clubs, brothels, gaming houses, restaurants and theatres, Montreal was a top destination for those tourists looking to have the times of their lives.

The exhibition takes viewers on a historically progressive tour throughout the short-lived time period. The maze-like showcase is decorated wall-to-wall with blurbs and historically relevant images of famous theatrical personas such as jazz musician Oscar Peterson and recording artist Alice Robitaille, as well as play writes, drag artists and famous Mafioso’s and prostitutes. Replications of notorious flocked-to street corners and destinations are also revealed, and video installations expose what illegal brothel hotel rooms were really like. Decorated with old vintage pieces, such as traffics lights, typewriters and slot machines, the exhibition successfully creates a timeless space driven by the city’s once dangerous, yet exciting scandalous affairs, where spectators can lose themselves into the once prevalent reality of our city’s cultural past!

335 Place d’Youville, Montréal, QC H2Y 3T1
(514) 872-3207

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